So, it's been a while since I shared out how motherhood is treating me. Last time I checked in, I was about to go back to work. Well, I've been back to work for 9 weeks now. Part of me was very ready for some routine in my life and was really looking forward to being back in the classroom. A bigger part of me was struggling with the concept of going from spending every waking (and non-waking - LOL) hour with my baby boy, to having about a solid 2 hours of "awake" quality time with him each day. He's always so happy when he wakes up in the mornings, even when it's 5am. It pains me to have to load him up in the car and take him to someone else for the day, when I know that there's going to be tons of smiles and giggles to be experienced. When I pick him up in the evenings and bring him home, it's the end of his day and he's tired. He tends to be a little more fussy and temperamental in the evening. It's hard knowing someone else is getting "the best part of his day."
I knew it was going to be hard... and I was hoping it would get easier. BUT IT HASN'T! In fact, the more interactive he becomes, the harder it is to walk out the door and leave him in the mornings. There's a lot of stress and pressure at work, and I often find myself daydreaming of being home with my baby. Thankfully, I get multiple text and picture updates throughout the day... so that helps! But I really just miss being with my baby. Such a struggle! I know I'm doing the right thing by working to provide a nice life FOR my baby... just hate the sacrifices that have to be made in doing so. I live for my weekends so I can spend my entire day with J.
Another "struggle" that I faced since going back to work was realizing I was going to have to start supplementing with formula much sooner than I originally hoped. My goal was to breastfeed exclusively until Jesse was 6 months, and over the summer I had stock piled a couple hundred ounces of frozen milk. I quickly found when I started back to work that I was producing about HALF as much as Jesse was taking in bottles while I was away. I would pump anywhere from 8 - 12, sometimes 14 ounces and he would consistently take closer to 18-22 ounces while I was at work. The frozen stash began to deplete tremendously... and (sorry for TMI), but my menstrual cycle decided to return at 10 weeks postpartum, and during those weeks each month, my supply tanks BIG TIME. Needless to say, the frozen stash dwindled away to the point that I knew we were going to have to start supplementing with formula sooner than I wanted.
I tried my hardest to keep up with Jesse's intake... I was pumping on the way to work, 2-3 times during the school day in a storage room, on the way to get Jesse after work, while I was nursing Jesse in the evenings... and I would even set my alarm and get up through the night to pump. I was basically killing myself, trying to keep up with him. And then I realized that my sanity is important... and that formula IS NOT the devil... and that it would be okay to supplement when I needed to. So, now that I'm supplementing, I just pump during the school day and have around 8 ounces at the end of the day for his next day's bottles. The rest I make in formula for while I'm gone. He has done wonderfully with taking the formula, and he continues to nurse when we are at home. The only setback we've had with the formula (and it may be completely unrelated) is that he had a little bit of eczema that has gotten worse in the last few weeks that he's been having some formula in his diet. Maybe it's related, maybe it's not - hoping to get some answers tomorrow at the doctor's office.
So how am I doing? I'm staying afloat. Barely getting by at work, which is difficult for me to swallow. Last year, it would be nothing for me to stay and work in my classroom till 5 or so... now, I want to get outta dodge as soon as I can after school so I can have more time with my baby. I know I'm not putting forth my personal best, but I honestly just don't have the time (or energy, most days) to keep up with it all. There are lots of new programs and initiatives this year and I'm trying to learn them all, but it's challenging. I don't feel like I'm being a great teacher, and because of the amount of work I have to do at home, I don't feel like I'm being a good mom. It's to the point where I won't even work on school work in the evenings because I REFUSE to sit my baby off by himself to play or watch TV for the sake of doing work... I just can't sacrifice anymore of my time with him, especially during these young years... he'll never be little again and he's growing up so fast! So that means staying up until ungodly hours to get it all done after he goes to bed. ...To then wake up and have no energy to do it all over again the next morning.
Everyone tells me that this is something all new moms go though; trying to balance it all. Honestly, I think I'd still be pretty stressed if the baby wasn't in the equation because of all the pressure at work. I was hoping by now, mid-October, that I'd have a grip on things and would have some systems in place that work. But I'm not quite there yet.
Just staying afloat. Hanging on.
It can only get better... right?